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Friday, August 28, 2015

the last hurrah

believe it or not, our summer travel still wasn't done yet.  we had one more trip left in us before school started...and we'd saved the best for last.  especially for the old lady, since we'd invited her special friend to join us.

after getting up crazy early in the morning, we all piled into the car for a drive down to LAX.  this blurry photo pretty much captures perfectly how groggy we were.

because we hit a lot of traffic on our way down, the hub decided it would be best to drop the four of us off with all of the luggage to get checked in while he parked off-site, grabbed a shuttle to the terminal, and joined us with only his carry-on backpack to worry about.  it was an easy process, and we managed to get the bags checked in and print boarding passes and go through security without fanfare.  for some reason, we couldn't select our seats beforehand and still somehow were able to be seated all together.

LAX has its very own kogi bbq truck right in the terminal:

as we were in line to pick up coffee and pastries, the hub finally joined us.  turned out that he'd had quite a bit more difficulty getting checked in than we did - the agent at the check-in desk had informed him that he was checking in too late and that they would have to book him on the next flight out.  um, no.  luckily, my husband doesn't give up easily.  he insisted on speaking with a supervisor, who got him checked in and through security just in the nick of time.  and he even got assigned a seat right next to me despite all that.  sheesh.

time to board!

the bean adores the old lady's special friend.  so much so that she opted to sit with them rather than with her boring old parents.

not long after takeoff, we had this:

hahaha at our photobomber in the background.  and yes, that is indeed a hello kitty pillow i'm resting my head on.  it unfolds into a cute pink hoodie, by the way.  you know you want one.

during the 5.5-hour flight, i took advantage of all the onboard amenities - the $7 snack box and the potty.  i skipped the movie, though, because it looked boring as hell.  i can't even remember what it was anymore, it was so uninteresting to me.

oh!  have i even told you where we were going?  well, maybe these hints will tell you:

that's right - after a very long absence, we were finally back in the islands!  so. stinking. excited.

although it was her special friend's first time to hawaii, the old lady opted not to buy him a welcome-to-hawaii souvenir.

after spending some time picking up the rental car and driving the half hour to ko'olina, we found that our home for the week wasn't quite ready for us yet.  and so we decided to head out and grab some lunch here:

i chose the raw bar mixed plate - a trio of different kinds of poke, including something called tako, which the server assured me i'd love - but when i found out that it was squid...well, pass.

we hit up the abc store to pick up a few essentials...along with a few local snacks.

our room still wasn't ready, so we decided to drop off our luggage and explore the property a bit.  it started to rain on us as we walked around, but it was so hot that we didn't care.

the bean was quite taken with the three separate pools on the property.

the hub was pretty excited to order his first lava flow of the trip.

we were just stoked to squish some sand underneath our feet and put our toes in the water.

upon hearing that the disney aulani was a mere 5-minute walk down the beach path, we decided to go and check it out.  the bean quickly took over the old lady's special friend, and you can see how thrilled she was about that.

and then...ta-da!  the hawaiian home of mickey and friends.

we had actually looked into staying here, but it was booked solid.  i even tried checking for a midweek one-night stay, just to get access to their amenities, but no dice.  there was one room available - a 2-bedroom villa for the low, low price of $850 per night.  bah.

the pools and waterplay areas looked pretty fantastic, but incredibly crowded.  there was zero wiggle room in the entire area.  it doesn't look too bad in these photos, but trust - so. many. people.

it was a nice-looking resort, though.

looked like they were prepping for a wedding, too.

this is the lagoon located directly in front of our resort.  not bad, eh?

i really meant to take more pictures of the condo we stayed at, i really did.  but you know how you're somewhere and you just assume you have all this time to do something and then you get super busy and distracted and never end up doing it after all?  yeah, that.  but here's our room:

the bean liked the tub in our bathroom.

this closet was chock full of all sorts of useful stuff for a family to enjoy - pack & play, coolers, pool noodles, frisbees, floaties.

we even had a fully furnished kitchen, a formal dining room and a living room.

there were two other bedrooms, too.  one with a queen bed that the special friend got, while the girls took the room with two twin beds.  there were three full bathrooms too, so it was really quite fabulous.

we spent some time down in the pool, because we could.  and because the bean was absolutely chomping at the bit to jump in.  she did all her tricks for us.

when we went back upstairs, we tossed the wet towels into the dryer, which she was somehow fascinated with.  i gotta admit, it was a pretty fancy stackable washer/dryer.

for dinner, we decided to take a short drive to grab some sushi.  the place we went to came pretty highly recommended, and everyone was entertained by the conveyor belt from which we took our pick of freshly made rolls, appetizers, and sushi.

she ate so many pieces of salmon sushi, i lost count.  and the sushi chef was so amused by her, he kept making her more and more until she finally gave up.  the rest of us managed to do some damage, too.

we made one more stop - foodland, to pick up some breakfast items and bottled waters and other snack-y stuff.  and then by the time we got back home and unpacked it all and got settled, everyone was pretty beat from the long (but fun) day we'd had.  we worked on a wish list of things we wanted to do and mapped out a plan for the rest of the week:

and that's how our first day in paradise finally came to an end.

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